After the War on Crime: Race, Democracy, and a New Reconstruction

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After the War on Crime reveals that the impact of America's war on crime reaches far beyond our overcrowded prisons, to influence our neighborhoods, our schools, and our democracy. Since the late 1990s, relatively low crime rates and a host of new social problems are combining to move elections and public debate away from the fear of crime and demands for law and order that have dominated both since the late 1960s.

Since the end of the last century, politicians and the voting public have begun moving away from the punitive demands for law and order that have fueled a nearly four-decade war on crime. Yet simply moving on is not only impossible but dangerous. After the War on Crime shows that this war's impact reaches far beyond our overcrowded prisons, distorting our neighborhoods, our schools, and our democracy. It has returned to our communities hundreds of thousands of formerly incarcerated persons, now ill-equipped to resume civilian life; increased segregation across a range of social settings; and generated an American lifestyle laden with expensive and constraining security regimes. In short, recovery from the long war on crime will require a "reconstruction" as sweeping and momentous as that which followed our Civil War.

It is time to consider the tasks this reconstruction must tackle. After the War on Crime accelerates this reassessment with provocative essays by a diverse, interdisciplinary group of scholars as well as policy professionals and community activists.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This thought-provoking book contains 14 essays that explore the far-reaching collateral damages and socioeconomic consequences of tough-on-crime policies."


This brave book challenges us, urgently, to rethink crime and punishment for the 21st century. It is not by accident that the U.S. became the world's largest incarcerator in just thirty-five years. After the War on Crime exposes how structural inequalities based on race and class and written into our laws, institutions and everyday practices have blackened our jails and prisons and reproduced segregated communities inside and out.-Susan Tucker,Director, The After Prison Initiative, Open Society Institute

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814727614
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Louise Frampton is Director of the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley.

Ian Haney López is Professor of Law at Boalt Hall and author of White by Law (NYU Press) and Racism on Trial.

Jonathan Simon is Professor of Law at Boalt Hall and author of Governing through Crime: How the War on Crime Transformed American Democracy and Created a Culture of Fear.

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Table of Contents

Introduction     1
Crime, War, and Governance
The Place of the Prison in the New Government of Poverty   Loic Wacquant     23
America Doesn't Stop at the Rio Grande: Democracy and the War on Crime   Angelina Snodgrass Godoy     37
From the New Deal to the Crime Deal   Jonathan Simon     48
The Great Penal Experiment: Lessons for Social Justice   Todd R. Clear     61
A War-Torn Country: Race, Community, and Politics
The Code of the Streets   Elijah Anderson     73
The Contemporary Penal Subject(s)   Mona Lynch     89
The Punitive City Revisited: The Transformation of Urban Social Control   Katherine Beckett   Steve Herbert     106
Frightening Citizens and a Pedagogy of Violence   William Lyons     123
A New Reconstruction
Smart on Crime   Kamala D. Harris     145
Rebelling against the War on Low-Income, of Color, and Immigrant Communities   Gerald P. Lopez     151
Of Taints and Time: The Racial Origins and Effects of Florida's Felony Disenfranchisement Law   Jessie Allen     166
The Politics of the War against the Young   Barry Krisberg     187
Transformative Justice and the Dismantling of Slavery's Legacy in Post-ModernAmerica   Mary Louise Frampton     207
Afterword: Strategies of Resistance   Van Jones     223
Contributors     229
Index     231
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